Four players in double figures, lights-out second half shooting , and an instrumental run paved the way for Texas Southern defeating Prairie View A&M 88-74 and securing their place in the SWAC championship game.
After taking a 5-3 lead in the early going, a three-pointer by Prairie View’s Troy Thompson would give the Panthers a 6-5 lead with 15:22 left in the first half. Prairie View would hold that lead, being up by as many as 6, for nearly the next ten minutes when Donte Clark’s jumper at 5:22 would put the Tigers back on top 22-21.
Following that bucket, the teams would swap the lead 5 times, with Texas Southern taking a 34-32 lead into halftime thanks to a Derrick Bruce three-pointer with 0:03 to go in the half.
The teams would be tied twice in the early going of the second half; the first occurrence being a 34 all off a dunk by Prairie View’s J.D. Wallace (19:21)and again at 36 from another Wallace basket (18:55). Texas Southern would reclaim the lead, 39-36 on a Donte Clark three-pointer.
Although Texas Southern shot a blistering 67 percent from the floor in the closing half, it was a 21-9 run that allowed them to seize control of the ballgame. The run to started on Derrick Bruce three pointer (13:39) and layup (12:57) followed by a jump shot (12:53) two made free throws (11:21) by Donte Clark which brought the score to 60-51. From that point on, Texas Southern would show the way, leading by as much as 17 on two separate occasions before ultimately winning by 14.
Donte Clark led four Tigers in double figures with 22, though he fouled out. Derrick Bruce finished with 18 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assist. Demontrae Jefferson put in 15 points and dished out 6 assist; Lamont Walker scored 13 points off the bench while not missing a shot from the field.
Prairie View was lead by Gary Blackston who dropped 32 points in a losing effort.
Texas Southern will square off with Arkansas-Pine Bluff in the SWAC title game Saturday March 10 with a 4:00 tip-off time.